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The Linguistic Past in Twelfth-Century Britain

$80.00 ( ) USD

Part of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature

  • Date Published: September 2017
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781316852958

$ 80.00 USD ( )
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About the Authors
  • How was the complex history of Britain's languages understood by twelfth-century authors? This book argues that the social, political and linguistic upheavals that occurred in the wake of the Norman Conquest intensified later interest in the historicity of languages. An atmosphere of enquiry fostered vernacular literature's prestige and led to a newfound sense of how ancient languages could be used to convey historical claims. The vernacular hence became an important site for the construction and memorialisation of dynastic, institutional and ethnic identities. This study demonstrates the breadth of interest in the linguistic past across different social groups and the striking variety of genre used to depict it, including romance, legal translation, history, poetry and hagiography. Through a series of detailed case studies, Sara Harris shows how specific works represent key aspects of the period's imaginative engagement with English, Brittonic, Latin and French language development.

    • This is the first book-length study of medieval perceptions of Britain's languages during the period of dynamic linguistic innovation after 1066
    • The volume's multilingual, synthetic approach provides an essential breadth of reference across genres and languages, while focused case studies provide detailed analysis
    • Offers new perspectives on medieval understandings of language and of ethnic identity
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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2017
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781316852958
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Methods and motivations for studying the vernacular linguistic past
    2. Perceptions of English linguistic and literary continuity
    3. Explorations and appropriations of British linguistic history
    4. The vernaculars of ancestral law: Royal administration and linguistic authority
    5. Placing French in multilingual Britain

  • Author

    Sara Harris, University of Cambridge
    Sara Harris is a Junior Research Fellow at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

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